The Giving Challenge Raises Nearly $16 Million

Todays News

The Giving Challenge roared back into Sarasota’s nonprofit ecosystem to the tune of nearly $16 million.

Over a 24-hour period from midday Tuesday to Wednesday, the philanthropic event generated $15,964,863 in unrestricted funding for organizations in the region. Money came from 46,216 donors.

The event since its inception a decade ago has stood out for the chance to boost the power of dollars via matching donations from The Patterson Foundation on all $25 to $100 donations. In a significant evolution of that exponential power, Mischa Kirby, vice president of strategy and communication for the Community Foundation of Sarasota County, said some 89 of the 669 nonprofits participating also lined up additional foundation and mega-donor support to provide additional matches.

“There was lots of good giving going on today,” Kirby said.

A leaderboard showed the organizations that generated the most support and the broadest activity. All Faiths Food Bank collected the most money, with $343,073 raised in total. Survivors in Sync proved the top money getter in small organizations, with $21,855 between gifts and prizes. Hope 4 Communities topped the list of medium-sized organizations, raising $42,295. A board also showed the most successful peer-to-peer fundraising effort, where the Church of the Palms Day of Hope topped the list for raising $11,875 from 115 separate donors.

The Giving Challenge is valuable, Kirby said, because it provides organizations with flexible funding to spend in ways they feel most appropriate based on changing needs. 

In a sense, this year’s The Giving Challenge has not yet ended. Judges will award a number of prizes over the coming weeks recognizing fundraising campaigns and outreach efforts. Already, $500 prizes were given to the first 50 organizations to reach 50 online donors during the event. There were also hourly $100 prizes given to nonprofits that used the Twitter hashtag #GivingChallenge2022 on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram to thank donors.

There were also 10 awards of $1,000 that went to campaigns judged in advance to have the best “Giving Challenge Story” this year, including Child Protection Center’s online video showcasing beneficiaries of program services. That was narrated by a girl who described the comfort provided by shelter workers when she came to the Sarasota center.

Another 10 awards worth $1,500 were issued to nonprofits for commercials produced in advance of the event. Among the winners there? A Lemur Conservation Fund video showing the work done at a Myakka City preserve to breed the endangered Madagascar primate in a local natural habitat.  

Thousands more will given out to groups for generating media exposure, producing the strongest photography, demonstrating the most board engagement and participating in the greatest partnerships. Some $250,000 in total prizes will be awarded when all is said and done.

Just over two years after Florida’s first COVID-19 diagnosis happened in a local hospital, the event also had a live gathering again after holding a digital only event in 2020.

“With the return to an in-person event, there was just so much enthusiasm and energy with so much taking place,” Kirby said.

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